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Endocrinology. 2005 Feb;146(2):931-40. Epub 2004 Nov 18.

Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-5 induces a gender-related decrease in bone mineral density in transgenic mice.

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Laboratory of Molecular Signaling, The Babraham Institute, Cambridge, United Kingdom CB2 4AT.


IGF-binding protein-5 (IGFBP-5) is abundant in serum and bone during normal skeletal development, but levels decrease in osteoporosis. Studies have shown that IGFBP-5 stimulates markers of bone formation by potentiating IGF actions and by IGF-independent actions. To test the hypothesis that IGFBP-5 promotes the acquisition of bone mineral density (BMD), we generated transgenic (Tg) mice overexpressing Igfbp5 using a cytomegalovirus enhancer and beta-actin promoter (CMV/betaA). Tg animals showed an increase in serum IGFBP-5 concentrations by 7.7- to 3.5-fold at 3-8 wk of age, respectively. Concentrations were 6-49% higher for males compared with females in both wild-type and Tg mice. Surprisingly, BMD decreased in a gender-dependent manner, with Tg male adults affected more severely than Tg females (31.3% vs. 19.2% reduction, respectively, compared with wild-type mice, assessed by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry). Significant gender differences in BMD were confirmed by peripheral quantitative computed tomography. Histomorphometry revealed that although the bone formation rate and mineralizing surface at the periosteum decreased in Tg mice, they increased at the endosteum, suggesting opposing effects of IGFBP-5 on periosteal and endosteal osteoblasts (by altering proliferation or survival). These findings differ from previous observations in Igf1- and Igf2-null animals. In conclusion, IGFBP-5 has a significant influence on BMD acquisition and maintenance that is dependent on gender and age. The phenotype of Igfbp5 mice cannot be explained solely by IGF inhibition; thus, this study provides the first in vivo evidence, by genetic manipulation, for IGF-independent actions of IGFBP-5 in bone function. These findings have implications for the gender-biased progression of osteoporosis.

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